Oyster Heaven: Point Reyes

November 23, 2010 by Kenmore

Photo: Chris Andre
Want to get away and enjoy top oyster restaurants too? Take a trip to Point Reyes, a San Francisco coastal treasure.

Build your own itinerary with tips on where to find the best oysters, places to dine, and other fun things to do.

Oyster Heaven & Beyond

Osteria Stellina – Located in downtown Point Reyes Station, this should be your first stop to kick off your Point Reyes food adventure. All the food here is local – all-from-Marin-County local. Named in SF Chronicle’s top 100 Bay Area Restaurants, Chef-owner Christian Caiazzo’s “Point Reyes Italian” cuisine is not to be missed.

Try Stellina’s specialty oyster pizza with braised leeks, lemon thyme and parsley. If oysters are not your thing, this osteria has a surprisingly well-rounded menu, and everything looks delicious.

Tony’s Seafood Restaurant – If “osteria” sounds too fancy for you, and you just love barbecued oysters, try Tony’s, a bit further up Highway 1. Though it’s more of a dive than a restaurant, everyone agrees they have the best barbecued oysters around. It’s open Friday to Sunday, cash only.

Want to go straight to the source? Pack a picnic or pick up a few things at Point Reyes Station. Try some fresh bread and baked goods at Bovine Bakery, and stop by Cowgirl Creamery to watch cheese being made.

It’s always a great idea to pick up some yummy cheeses before heading out to Hog Island Oyster Company or Tomales Bay Oysters, also along Highway 1. Both provide picnic tables, barbeques, lemons, hot sauce, a glove, a shucker and beautiful views!

Tomales Bay Oysters will give you a quick demo on how to shuck if it’s your first time. Staff will suggest other picnic areas nearby, so if you plan on being adventurous, bring your own shucker, glove, and oyster fixings. Be prepared to pay a picnic fee at Hog Island, but it’s well worth it.

If you prefer a down-home family restaurant experience, head back to Point Reyes Station for live music in the evening at Station House Café. The café even uses local organic ingredients. If you haven’t had enough, get fresh oysters from Hog Island or Drakes Bay. Make a note: the specials are ever changing! Reservations are not a bad idea, either.

Getting Back to Nature

If you want to spend more time running around in the wild, pack up that picnic and:

HIKE along Bear Valley Trailhead. Take this trail to get to Arch Rock for gorgeous views to go with your picnic lunch. Campers can also find a few campsites starting from Bear Valley. Check out Bay Area Hiker for detailed descriptions of the trail.

RIDE along Marshall Beach Trail or over to the Lighthouse. From Marin Magazine: “The fairly easy ride offers a challenge with the short uphill climb from Marshall Beach but the bulk of the trail is flat and manageable.”

How to get there: After entering Point Reyes National Seashore, turn right on Pierce Point towards Tomales Bay. Tomales Bay State Park will appear on the right. Turn right onto Marshall Beach Road. Drive up this road a short distance to the cattle guard and park. The ride is about seven-and-a-half miles.

WALK along Limantour Beach for a somewhat secluded experience with beautiful views of the ocean and the forest.

Beautiful West Marin offers many locations to explore. Whether you come in search of a great oyster, a great meal, or a great trail, you have to check out Point Reyes!

Barbecued Oysters on the Half Shell

For oyster relish:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, preferably Meyer lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced oregano
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon
  • 5 green olives, such as Picholine, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Canola oil for grill
  • 24 oysters, scrubbed

Prepare Relish: In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, parsley, oregano, shallots, lemon juice, olives, salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat an outdoor grill (or a stovetop ridged grill) to very hot. If using an indoor ridged grill, brush the grill with canola oil.

Grill Oysters: Place whole oysters, flat side up, on the grill and grill until oyster shells open, about 5-7 minutes. Discard any oysters that do not open. Once the oysters have cooled slightly, use an oyster knife to detach the oyster meat from flat shell, discarding top shell, and leaving the meat in the bottom, rounded shell. Add 1-2 teaspoons of relish to each. Return to the grill and heat through (1 more minute), or until hot.

Serve: Transfer oysters to a serving platter, garnish the platter with lemon and herbs and serve immediately. Serves 24.

Kenmore recommends…

With a gas grill, any season is the right season for grilling, no matter where you live. Try Bibby’s oyster recipe prepared on a quality Kenmore brand gas grill.


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